The International Writers Magazine: Deal or No Deal
My First Car
Sitting in Finck's Tire waiting area the first you notice is all the magazine's are about hunting. The covers all feature incredibly large deer either framed between tree branches with a well camoflauged man stalking the deer, or more simply put, a deer precisely sighted in the cross hairs.
The entire inside of the waiting area is painted white, which provides a striking contrast to all the stacks of tires rising throughout like stalagmites. As you exit the small waiting area, which is right next to the door with tires providing the barrier between your chair and the entrance point, and turn left along the wall you notice a large trophy case of sorts. The case, which is lined with shelves about 18 inches apart, is bookended on either side by stacks of brand new Goodyear All-Terrain tires, decreasing in size as the stack ascends wall. Inside the case you notice a collection of blue collar, model collectibles. Tonka trucks, John Deere tractors, combines, diskbines, and hay wagons, also, you find replicas of NASCAR stock cars, all the big names are there. The bookcase is probably eight feet high and 15 feet long. Larry Olson works there, his uncle owns it. I am waiting to buy my first car from Larry. The car is a white, 1988 Mazda 626, I have no idea what the numbers are meant to indicate.
Larry is two years older than I am, we used to play baseball together on team his dad coached. The first thing (I think) I noticed about Larry is that his voice had a high pitch, even for a kid. No one, that I know of, really picked on him for it. As we got older our voices changed, as they are supposed to, and I imagines Larry's did as well, but it still sounded oddly high. Oddly high to the point that we began to wonder if Larry had some sort of substance abuse problem, an addiction to helium to be specific. Larry's alleged helium addiction was mostly a joke, none of us really believed he had a balloon problem, but the idea of him trolling neighborhoods looking for children's birthday parties so he could steal a couple fixes was fun conjecture. Also, and it was of great comfort to us, that even if he was addicted to helium how bad could it be? It's one of the noble gases, its not like he was huffing paint thinner or gasoline.
Larry was busy working so I began talking over the details with his father, Larry Olson Sr. The initial asking price was $1,600. Through shrewd negotiating I was able to drive the price down to $1,500. I test drove the car, everything seemed to be in fine working order, the car handled well, had a surprising amount of pick up for a four cylinder, and shifted as smoothly as though the clutch were only seconds old. We, Larry Olson Sr. and myself, switched seats so that, having committed fully to buying the car, he could drive to the notary public to finalize the title transfer. He told the notary that I had bought the car for $200 so the taxes would be less burdensome. As I was about to become an impoverished college student I was grateful.
I would drive that car for the next three years. It was the first big ticket item I had every bought for myself. On the drive home, after we had returned to Finck Tire to drop off Larry Olson Sr., I checked my review mirrors constantly, kept the needle on the speedometer static on 45 and drove more cautiously than I had any right to.
© Austin Muckinhaupt November 2010